In my pocket is a machine more powerful than the computers that sent astronauts to space. What do I decide to do with it? I play games like Flappy Bird and Temple Run, of course!
All joking aside, I’ve recently grown fond of mobile games. In my angsty teen years, I thought these games were a disgrace to the form; however, between technology advances and increased interest in the mobile platform, these portable games have become better all around.
I got hooked on a new mobile game called Portal Quest this weekend. I originally downloaded it on a whim. Three hours later, I was still leveling my characters and working through the campaign.
This wasn’t the first time, nor is it likely to be the last time, a mobile game has caught me. I remember countless hours playing Fallout Shelter, Flappy Bird, and Temple Run.
Let’s face it, games on the go are convenient. I’m looking at you Nintendo. I can easily pull out my phone and play If I’m stuck on public transportation or waiting to meet someone.
These games are well designed because they require almost no time. If I only have a couple of minutes, I can still make progress. This differs from MOBA’s and other real-time games. I’m not held hostage by the game.
Ironically, this property incentivizes me to play longer because “I can stop at any time.” I swear, I’m not addicted…
I also like that I don’t have to pull out a separate device to play. Since my phone is almost always near/on my person, the effort required to load up the game is minimal.
Lastly, the basic mechanics and gameplay loops are often simple and repetitive. This means I don’t have to examine the mechanics to optimize my experience.
A majority of people over the age of 5 can follow simple instructions and hit one or two buttons at a time.
Assuming this is you, then you could simply find a mobile game that looks interesting, download it, and start playing. Further, several games don’t even require a wifi/data connection.
In fact, one of my favorite games at the moment is Hello Cats. It’s a physics simulator where you draw shapes to either knock a cat into its owner’s arms or protect it from bees and water. The puzzles are fun, varied, and relaxing.
The game doesn’t punish you for screwing up and rewards you for doing the puzzle most optimally. Sometimes, you can even be more efficient than the game thinks. I always get a small thrill out of solving a puzzle with less than the “minimum” amount of shapes.
I’m also keen that I can use mobile games as an introduction to gaming more broadly. While most people would be willing to play a mobile game, less realize that the games they’re playing are similar in spirit to those “nerds” play.
Since mobile games are socially acceptable, I can use them to ease someone into gaming. Mobile games are a more friendly bridge from what someone knows to something which is intimidating from the outside.
Surprisingly Decent Stories
I never expected to say this, but some mobile games have great stories. Early mobile games like Flappy Bird weren’t concerned with story. Instead, they presented a simple task, with a little variety, and an incentive to dominate your friend’s scores.
I’m thankful this has changed with the entry of larger game companies. Of course, there are still games without a story. I like storyless games when I just want to do something mindless.
There are times though where I want something a bit more developed, but don’t want to boot up my PC.
Story-driven mobile games to the rescue! Portal Quest actually has a fun, quippy story between missions. Fallout Shelter is another game with a decent story. Personally, I love story based games. When I combine story with the convenience of mobile, I’m in my gamer heaven.
Since I’ve opened myself up to the world of mobile gaming I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I have found a variety of games made by a plethora of talented developers and studios.
I’m thankful these games allow me to integrate gaming into my life. As a bonus, these games also let me share my love of gaming. The casual mobile game market combines several of my favorite aspects of gaming.
I can’t wait to see where the mobile game market will go. In the meanwhile, I need to get back to leveling my heroes in Portal Quest.